Israel: Jerusalem + Tel Aviv


Getting from Jordan to Israel by land is in theory, a simple procedure. But with any land crossing, and particularly with one involving contested areas you never know exactly what to expect. We heard experiences ran from benign to horrendous. We resolved ourselves to spending the day getting from Madaba to Jerusalem if needed. From our hotel we shared a taxi to the border with a girl from Switzerland, Sophie, who was living in the West Bank learning Arabic. At the border we paid our departure tax and waited for the bus. This apparently could take anywhere from 20-minutes to two hours as it waited to fill. Luckily for us, it took 25 minutes. We were off towards Israel! Continue reading

Dana Nature Reserve


If you travel to Jordan, you typically spend a few nights in the desert of Wadi Rum at a Bedouin camp. Its one of the things here “not to miss.” So, we missed it. As it goes. But we had good reason! We’d desert camped in the Sahara, and judging by recent temperatures here neither of us were particularly interested in spending the day in triple digit heat in sand dunes. So instead, we headed north to Feynan Ecolodge (Truffle Pig recommended) where it was still hot, but at least had proper rooms and cold water. This time we drove the desert highway, which in the south is incredibly boring. If you can imagine something far worse than I-5 from SF to LA, then you have this highway, hot, flat shrub forever. Luckily, the drive was in no way a reflection of how we’d spend the next few days. Continue reading

Aqaba


We took the Kings Highway south from Petra, winding down towards the sea. For such a small country covered mostly by desert the terrain varies wildly from desolate barren mountains to flat valleys and the occasional spotting of vegetation. This time, our drive was pleasant and direct. Ninety minutes later we reached the Red Sea, within a few miles radius is Egypt, Isreal, and Saudi. To get to the beach we drove the lonely port stretch from Aqaba towards Saudi, the closest we’ll likely ever be to visiting the Kingdom.  Continue reading

Petra


Petra might be the first place I’ve visited where my expectations were not only met, but blown away. Sure, the walk into the Siq and view of the treasury are impressive, but Petra is so much more than that. Most places we visit we felt we didn’t need more time. But our two days in Petra feel somewhat less than needed, though we did see a lot, there was so much left unexplored. Continue reading